Jan. 12 – Lou Phelps, Publisher of Coastal Empire News, named to Board of Directors, Society of Professional Journalists/GA Chapter

Category: Local Media & Agencies

Savannah Business Journal Staff Report

January 12, 2017 – The Society of Professional Journalists/Georgia Chapter, has announced its 2017 Board of Directors.

Ellen Eldridge, reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, will serve as President.  Dan Whisenhunt, Editor and Founder of Decaturish.com has been named President-elect.  And, Lou Phelps, Owner and Publisher of Coastal Empire News in Savannah, Brunswick and Dublin - publisher of the Savannah Business Journal and Coastal Family - will join the Board and serve as Secretary (pictured right.)

Additional members of the Board of Directors include: Mark B. Thomason, Publisher of The Fannin Focus; Jay Suber, of Atlanta, a Peabody and Emmy award-winning journalist and early leader of CNN; Jennifer Matthews, Associate Producer at CNN;  Neha Negandhi, Radio Talk Show Host at AM1690; Roderic Graham, News Assistant at CNN;  Haisten Willis, Freelance Writer, formerly with France Media and the Marietta Daily Journal; and Rebekah Fuchko, writer for the Kennesaw State University student newspaper, The Sentinel. Shannon Dunten, Asst. Region 3 Director for SPJ, is past-president of the Georgia Chapter and is also part of the board of the Georgia Chapter.

For more than 100 years, the Society of Professional Journalists has been dedicated to encouraging a climate in which journalism can be practiced more freely and fully, stimulating high standards and ethical behavior in the practice of journalism, and perpetuating a free press. The SPJ, nationally and through local chapters, fights and wins battles for Freedom of Information and First Amendment rights that might not otherwise be fought at all. As a result of SPJ's grass-roots activism, they are able to address vital issues confronting today's working journalist, and provide training and encouragement for the next generation of journalists in an evolving media climate.

The Georgia Chapter of the SBJ is the sponsor of the Larry Peterson for Investigative Journalism, open to journalist across the Region 3 states in the South.  Larry Peterson was a long-time reporter and political writer for the Savannah Morning News.

At the SPJ’s national convention in September, the Georgia Chapter was recognized for diverse membership, when the national delegates awarded the Georgia Chapter with the ‘Circle of Excellence Award in Diversity.’ 

"I'm am honored to be asked to serve on the SPJ board for Georgia," said Phelps. "SPJ focuses on training and supporting journalists in print, television and digital publishing mediums. And, SPJ is exploring training potential future journalists, many of whom may come from the new world of 'citizen journalists' and bloggers," she added.  "I think that's a very exciting view of how we as publishers can deliver quality community news for our readers in an increasingly electronic world - expanding the umbrella of where tomorrow's journalists may come from." 

The SPJ/Georgia Chapter is exploring offering training seminars along the Georgia coast later in 2017, to provide low-cost training opportunities for news reporters in the region.


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